Waiting can Be Meaningful – Thoughts Around Thanksgiving

Sitting and Waiting
Sitting and Waiting

I sit here in Starbucks and I am content.  I’ve got my grande, blonde roast coffee, my cheese and fruit bistro box, my journal and my ipad.  Jazz is gently playing in the background and I hear the 2 happy barista merrily preparing client lattes and frappuccinos. Life in this moment is good.

Moments like these fulfill me.  Sometimes, in my crazy life, I am forced to sit down and take it in and I am grateful because otherwise, I would miss it.  My ipad is out of juice, it’s an hour until my next appointment and I have nothing to do but wait.

Waiting for me is not a time waster or a means to an end (usually).  It is a gift.  I heard my husband tell my boys the other day, that he didn’t enjoy amusement parks because he hated waiting in lines.  I had to ponder that because I have always love amusement parks.  It never occurred to me how much time I spent in lines.  As I thought, I realized some of the best parts of the day were spent in lines.  I remember great conversations and laughter.  I remember making new friends and meeting new people.  Sometimes, I got to see cool things because I was in one place for an extended period of time.  Things like witnessing a proposal or watching a baby bird take its first flight (believe it or not, this can be possible in parks in Southwestern Ontario).  I’ve found my next hair style or shoes that I would need to scope out.  Other times, I just stared off into space, reflecting on the day or letting my thoughts just settle; recharging my batteries.  Never did I hate waiting in line.  I was grateful.  Grateful for the opportunity to slow down and be present.

I know how easy it is to find fault in things.  I’ve been prone to it throughout my life.  Looking for beauty in the face of a beast, however, has been a practice that has helped in my pursuit of meaningful life.  Seeing the gifts that waiting can provide makes one much more content than focusing on the aggravation of loosing time.  Especially when the end can be a thrill no matter how short.

In My Own Backyard

I was born, raised and live in Southwestern Ontario. You would think, with that much time spent in one area (over 40 years but under 42 years), I would be able to explain everything about it, right?.  And being Canadian, I could define the Canadian experience – right?  I’ll tell you, one can certainly have a Canadian foundation but really not know, nor understand, anything about what it is to a be a Canadian.  It wasn’t until I spent 4 months of my life living and travelling abroad, that I began to realize I needed to explore my roots and embrace my nationality.

View from the Glass Ceiling atop the CN Tower
View from the Glass Ceiling atop the CN Tower

During university, I spent 4 months living, studying and travelling abroad.  I was based in London, England, but being in such close proximity to so many other countries, I used my weekends, school breaks and summer, to travel the UK and a bit of Europe.  London didn’t feel much different from Toronto.  Big buildings, lot’s of traffic and resources; very cosmopolitan.  When I got to travel outside the city I was in awe.  Vast green forests and hills.  There were rocks and sheep and quaint little cobblestone roads.  I went up the Eiffel Tower in Paris  and couldn’t believe the beauty of all the twinkly lights and how far I could see.   Waiting for the elevator to go down, my best friend and I overheard the woman behind us, ask her companion how high the Eiffel Tower was.  It was certainly one of the highest structures she had ever been up.  My friend and I winked at each other because we knew the CN Tower in  Toronto, back home, was higher.  Then it occurred to me.  I hadn’t been up the CN Tower since I was 4.  I barely remembered being terrified riding the elevator to the top with my grandfather.  But that was it.  All of the sudden,  I felt like  a part in a movie when everything sped up and the picture became blurred.  The things I was admiring during this excursion, were things I didn’t even know if we had in Canada.  I never paid attention.  I took it for granted that things I saw everyday in my homeland were just always … there.  But were they??????

Lush forests in Ontario, Canada
Lush forests in Ontario, Canada

When I got home, I put on my national glasses and suddenly I saw … vast green forests and hills, rocks and sheep (and cows), not cobblestone roads but dirt roads with farms and livestock.  I took my (then) fiancee (and now both my sons) up to the top of the CN Tower and witnessed twinkley lights and saw for miles.  It brought tears to my eyes.  The things that  I thought were beautiful in a foreign land, were the very things that I couldn’t see in my own backyard.  It put things very dramatically into perspective.  I am so very GRATEFUL for all that I live amongst in this place we call Canada.

View for Miles
View for Miles